On the project Skolt Sámi Oahpa!-nuõrti

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Oahpa! is a bundle of software for interactive training of vocabulary, grammar and communicative skills to learn foreign languages by studying on one's own in the Internet. Oahpa! was first developed for North Sámi by collaborators of the Center for Sámi Language Technology (Giellatekno) at the University of Tromsø. Since 2006 the programms are continously being developed further and new versions for other Sámi and non-Sámi languages are under creation.

The authors of the software behind Oahpa! are:

  1. Lene Antonsen
  2. Ciprian Gerstenberger
  3. Saara Huhmarniemi
  4. Ryan Johnson
  5. Trond Trosterud
  6. Heli Uibo


Oahpa!-nuõrti for Skolt Sámi uses the existent software infrastructure for Oahpa! and adapts it to a Sámi language spoken in three countries: Finland, Norway and Russia. The project is led by Michael Rießler at the Skolt Sámi Museum in Neiden in cooperation with the University of Freiburg (in Germany) and Giellatekno.

Oahpa!-nuõrti was launched in 2012 as part of a project called Skolt Sámi Culture across Borders at the Skolt Sámi Museum. The aim was to create new teaching materials for Skolt Sámi speakers in Norway and Russia, among other things. Since May 2013 the work with Oahpa!-nuõrti is funded by the Ministery of Reform, Administration and Church.

Students of Michael Rießler’s classes in linguistics at the University of Freiburg are also contributing to the project work. Currently they write short grammar sections as written exercises for a class on Skolt Sámi linguistic structures.

Main goals

  1. Creating an interactive and multilingual environment on the Internett in order to stimulate use of Skolt Sámi common speech in all three countries.
  2. Creating a place, where beginners and advanced learners of Skolt Sámi can practice and improve their skills by studying on their's own.
  3. Making Skolt Sámi visable on the Internett not only for Sámi, but also for users of the majority languages and English.

In order to integrate other language technology from Giellatekno into Oahpa!-nuõrti we made the Oahpa!-nuõrti web portal.

Target group

The target group consists of beginners and advanced learners, but also the pupils' parents who have some knowledge of Skolt Sámi which they want to practice and develop further.

Professional background

Giellatekno (University of Tromsø) has been working with language technology for Sámi and other languages since 2000. Among other other things they programmed tools which make is possible to analyse and generate morphological wordforms and even resolve syntactic disambiguities. Prelimiary work on such programms for Skolt Sámi is also being done. In the future these tools for Skolt Sámi will be integrated into Oahpa!-nuõrti.

The Skolt Sámi Museum (Neiden) works with the conveying of Skolt Sámi culture, partly also including language, in Norway as well as across the borders to Russia and Finland.

The Freiburg Research Group in Saami Studies (University of Freiburg) aims at dokumentation, description and language technology for Sámi languages, especially Pite Sámi in Sweden and Kola Sámi languages in Russia.

Project collaborators behind Oahpa!-nuõrti:

  1. Michael Rießler, project leader, linguist at the University of Freiburg and language worker at Østsamisk museum
  2. Ciprian Gerstenberger, linguist and programmer at the University of Tromsø

The analysor for the Numra program was written by:

  1. Trond Trosterud, Tromsø

Skolt Sámi consultants helping with speech recordings for the grammar’s sound files:

  1. Erkki Lumisalmi, Ivalo
  2. Zoja Nosova, Verhnetulomskij
  3. Katri Jefremoff, Nellim

Students at the University of Freiburg who have worked with different sections of the grammar:

  1. Sabine Demsar (verb)
  2. Miriam Hecker
  3. Kathrin Henstra
  4. Gerald Koller
  5. Marion Kwiatkowski (noun)
  6. Julia Reitze
  7. Igor Zaday

Help with translations was also provided by:

  1. Rogier Blokland, University of München
  2. Natalia Chapovalova, Binghampton University
  3. Christina Mathisen, Neiden
  4. Tiina Sanila-Aikio, Ivalo